Re-descriptions of some Southern african Scyphozoa: out with the old and in with the new
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Two species of Chrysaora are described from the northern Benguela ecosystem: C. fulgida and C. africana. These species can be diagnosed by a combination of morphological features including lappet and tentacle number, shape of lappets, colouration patterns (alive), shape of the proximal portion of radial septa, gastrovascular pouch shape, point of attachment of gonads and the presence or absence of small raised nematocyst warts on the exumbrellar surface. Objective, quantitative statistical analyses coupled with molecular sequence data support the qualitative morphological dissimilarity observed, as these analyses unambiguously diagnose C. fulgida and C. africana as two distinct species. There is a strong superficial resemblance between the C. fulgida material described here and the preserved specimens of C. hysoscella examined at the Natural History Museum, London. Thorough investigation does however allow the separation of these two species. Morphological features found to be dissimilar were the proximal portion of the manubrium, gastrovascular pouch shape and the presence or absence of sperm sacs. Objective, quantitative statistical analyses support these findings. Nuclear sequence variation suggests considerable divergence between the two species but additional molecular work is needed.